Zoo Time

Howard Jacobson. Bloomsbury, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-60819-938-9
Man Booker Prize-winner Jacobson (The Finkler Question) returns with this smiling meta-look at a novelist struggling to find his next book in a world where there are more writers than readers (and where, "Whatever else, fiction was fucked.") Forty-three-year-old Guy Ableman's London publisher has committed suicide, and his new one is pushing "unbooks" for smart phones. His agent dismisses all of Guy's book proposals, most of which are inspired by Guy's efforts to seduce spirited, red-headed Poppy Eisenhower, whom Guy has longed for since marrying her spirited, red-headed daughter, Vanessa. As monkey-obsessed Guy attempts to go "zoo time" with the inseparable women, he "mouth-writes" novels about his alter-ego, Gid. Acknowledging that a writer who "resorts to writing about writing" is in trouble, Guy moves on to a protagonist based on his Casanova brother Jeffrey "who drinks vodka through his eyes" and whom Guy suspects (with lamentation) is sleeping with his wife, and postulates (with rage) is sleeping with Poppy. Mentally auditioning various novel ideas throughout—The Monkey on My Back, The Mother-in-Law Joke, and The Monkey and the Mother-in-Law—Guy moves closer to his next book, but never (even as Poppy and Vanessa change course)—far from himself. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 10/16/2012
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Hardcover - 480 pages - 978-1-4088-3744-3
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